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House probe on medical supplies issue ‘trabaho lang’

September 20, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 532 views

No ulterior motive — Aglipay

THE chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability assured the public that unlike in the Senate, there’s no ulterior motive behind the House inquiry into the alleged overpricing of medical supplies procured by the government for coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) response in 2020.

DIWA Party-list Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay said his committee’s mandate is to investigate public officials involved in corruption and it “must be done swiftly, expeditiously, and without any fanfare.”

“It should not be for media mileage and never in aid of election or reelection. Trabaho lang po,” Aglipay said, as he took a swipe at the Senate investigation on the billions of pesos worth of medical supplies bought by the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

Aglipay also addressed critics who claim that his committee’s investigation on the same issue is out to defend President Rodrigo “Rody” Roa Duterte and his administration, saying he’s “independent from all politics.”

“I am for the people. I am pro-Filipino. Hindi po ako pro- or anti-government. This is the essence of democracy where all sides are allowed to speak, and in doing so we will only speak on the topic at hand,” Aglipay said.

“Hindi naman namin kayo nililigaw because if public officials do that, then they obviously have political agenda,” he added.

The panel chief also dismissed the Senate probe as mere politicking “in aid of election, not in aid of legislation,” considering that Commission on Audit Chairman Michael Aguinaldo himself declared during the previous hearing that there were no findings of overpricing in the COVID-19 supplies procured by PS-DBM during the onset of the pandemic last year.

Aglipay noted that the Senate, particularly its Blue Ribbon Committee, has always held highly publicized hearings “six to eight months before the next presidential elections.”

“It’s like clockwork to topple the frontliner in the next elections,” Aglipay said. “In 2010, Senator Manny Villar was the frontrunner, and they did this hearing with alleged double insertion on the C5 extension.”

He added: “In 2016, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee also did this to former Vice President Jejomar Binay for his alleged hacienda in Batangas. Now, they are doing this again with the alleged overpricing of equipment purchased from Pharmally.”

“I dare say that in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings, we see and hear at least four potential presidential or vice presidential candidates who savor every minute they can get from free TV coverage and publicity,” Aglipay pointed out.

Aglipay called on fellow lawmakers “not to waste the Filipino people’s time” and “not distract Cabinet officials from the true task at hand, and that is to continue fighting the virus.

“Let us not waste taxpayers’ money by holding more hearings. Let us not make use of these hearings to further political ambition,” Aglipay said.